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UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki)

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Old Nov 30, 19, 2:45 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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This wiki was created to distill SDC (and related standby) down to a set of rules in the hopes of benefiting others.

The official "rules" can be found here. In practice, some of the rules almost always apply, and some are more flexible.

Note there have been reports of SDC to one segment removing confirmed CPU upgrades on downline segments. If maintaining the confirmed upgrade is important then these changes should be handled with care.

Most Frequently Asked Question: When do I call/go online to make the change?
Follow this flowchart:
Question 1: Are you within 24 hours of your currently scheduled UA(*) operated flight that you're trying to change off of? If yes, continue to Question 2. If no, continue to answer 1.
Question 2: Are you within 24 hours of the first UA operated flight you're trying to change on to? If yes, continue to Answer 2. If no, continue to Answer 1.
Answer 1: No, you cannot call/go online yet to make an SDC.
Answer 2: Yes, then you can call/go online to make an SDC.

General Baseline Rules

These are the general rules that usually apply to SDC's; falling outside these rules usually requires payment of a full change fee and the fare difference:
  • Not available for Basic Economy (N class) tickets
  • The departure time of the first segment of the old itinerary and the departure time of the first segment of the new itinerary must both be within 24 hours of the moment that the change is made.
  • Only applies to UA/UX operated flights, domestic or international. Changing from a non-UA operated to UA operated may be possible.
  • Must 016 UA ticket stock
  • The ultimate origin and destination airports must remain the same.
  • Routing can be changed (addition, deletion, or change of connection points) but the routing rules of the original fare usually apply.
  • All remaining unflown segments in a single fared itinerary are considered together (i.e., if you're flying WWW-XXX-YYY-ZZZ, you can go to a kiosk at XXX and potentially fly XXX-AAA-ZZZ or XXX-ZZZ direct).
  • SDC can be done an unlimited number of times, and can, therefore, be used to extend a trip indefinitely (pending availability).
  • SDC costs $75 for Members and Silvers - the fee is waived for Golds and up (plus any applicable fare difference, see below). *G's may also get free SDC, although there is no mention of this in the official rules. Once in-route, fees for an earlier connecting flight may be waived per GG SDC Line 118.
  • Non-elites on the same PNR benefit from any waived fees for SDC.
  • No fare difference is charged so long as there is availability on all of the new segments in the originally ticketed fare class. Fare class availability in all classes often opens up after T-24 and almost always opens up at T-3 unless the plane is very full.
  • SDC on bulk tickets, including United Specials, is not permitted.
  • SDC is permitted on both domestic and international itineraries.

How to SDC

SDC can be accomplished in a few different places (in rough order of likelihood of being able to get the rules bent):
  • United mobile app
  • Kiosk
  • Phone
  • On united.com, right now only the "Search Other Flight Options" button during On-Line Check-In (OLCI) works. This has spotty availability, particularly if the change would involve paying an additional fare due to fare bucket non-availability.
  • Counter/Gate (although reports are that most airport agents are not familiar with the SDC policy and may not allow you to SDC to a valid itinerary--you can try to direct them to look up GG SDC, but they often won't understand that what you're trying to do is permitted by those rules)
Please note that the United.com “change flight” link before checking in within T-24, is broken. The website may not show all available options and will often attempt to collect the change fee rather than the SDC fee (if any).


NB: An SDC where the original itinerary (in one direction) has three or more segments cannot be done online.


Nuances and Loose Rules

Now for the hard part: figuring out where the flexibility is in the rules. This list is compiled from the responses to people saying "Can I do X?" where X is something that is not clearly permitted by the rules. One's likelihood of success here depends a bit on the method used for the SDC.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
A = not permitted but perhaps possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • Violating various non-routing fare rules (day/time, minimum stay, etc.): Y
  • Change destination to ultra-close airport (see the old S*FAR/STANDBY): A
  • Change destination to a co-terminal: N*
  • Change destination to an entirely different place: N
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to include illegal layovers (> 4 hours): N*
  • Change itinerary at the layover point (using kiosk, app, or agent) to create an otherwise illegal layover: Y
  • Change itinerary at the beginning to add a layover point not permitted by the routing rules: N*
  • Change itinerary at a layover point to add another layover not permitted (either in terms of number of segments or routing rules) by the routing rules: Y
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before or after the original flight: N*
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours before the original flight, if the previous day's flight has been delayed: Y (based on one report)
  • Change to a flight exactly 24 hours after the original flight, if the original flight has been delayed: Y (at least in the app)
  • Combining separately-fared segments to do SDC (e.g. XXX-YYY+YYY-ZZZ -> XXX-ZZZ): A
  • Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A*
  • Change from UA metal to UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: N (see post 1813 for one exception)
  • Change from UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to a different UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment: ??
  • Change on a non-UA ticketed segment: N* (with potentially dire consequences)
  • Change from an upgraded flight into Y on the new flight: Y
  • Change from a GPU-upgraded flight into J/F on the new flight: A
  • Change from a CPU-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: N*
  • Change from an instrument-upgraded flight and get confirmed into available R space on the new flight: A*
  • Non-elite on different PNR benefiting from Elite's waived-fee SDC: A
  • Change at origin airport after tendering a checked bag: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change at layover airport when a bag has been checked: A - 60 minutes prior to both flights required
  • Change a bulk fare: A*
  • Stand-By to later flight, then SDC after original flight departs to flight within 24-hours of new Stand-By flight: Y

If you encounter issues with an agent (phone or counter/gate), you can ask the agent to reference GG SDC. Additionally, GG SDC line 61 specifically references that fare classes are supposed to level out 3.5 hours before departure, so you might be able to use that to your advantage if fare classes have not leveled out and you're trying to ask an agent to open up the correct inventory or force you onto the flight.

Note -- as of 11/27/2017: A datapoint indicates that UA may have updated its GG rule regarding leveling out to state the following:

Code:
EVERYDAY AWARD AND REVENUE BUCKETS ARE TO LEVEL OUT WITHIN 2H OF DEPARTURE
Standby
For fare classes other than Basic Economy (N class) you may stand by if seats are not available in the purchased fare class. In these cases, the same-day change fee will apply, but will not be charged unless you are assigned a seat on your alternate flight. Changes in routing are not allowed when standing by. Standby may be requested on the day of departure at an airport kiosk or with a United representative at the airport. Once you are added to the flight standby list, you can check your real-time standby status at united.com/flightstatus or on your mobile device at mobile.united.com/info.

Instead of paying a same-day change discounted fee, can I stand by for my desired flight for free?
No. The only time you may standby for free is when the fare does not have any penalties for making changes, or when standing by involuntarily due to a flight irregularity.

Can I pay the same-day change discount fee with cash?
Cash will only be accepted by a United airport representative when the change is available to be confirmed, not for standby travel.

Standby Nuances and Loose Rules

All nuances assume request is made within 24 hours of scheduled departure to a flight within 24 hours of the request.

For each item, the following codes apply:
Y = officially permitted and possible using any method
K = Perhaps not officially permitted, but kiosk will allow.
A = not permitted but perhaps possible using an agent (phone/counter), perhaps having to HUACA
A* = mixed reports of success with an agent (phone/counter),
N* = possible only if you find a very accommodating agent
N = little or no reported success.
  • To a flight the previous calendar day: A*/N*
  • To a flight after your ticketed flight, on the same calendar day: Y
  • To a flight the following calendar day: N*
  • Request Standby at an airport other than departure airport: ?
  • Make request calendar day before scheduled flight to flight same day as scheduled departure: K
original posting by mgcsinc, initiated by jackal

Mileage Credit after SDC

SDC is considered a voluntary change, so your credited PQM & PQS will be credited based on the route you actually fly. Your PQDs should not change and therefore for your RDMs will not change. Occasionally if you fly a fewer number of segments, your PQD will credit wrong, but a call to MPSC should correct that.

Previous threads:
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions (with Wiki) {Archive}
UA Same-Day Travel Change (SDC) Fees/Questions *now with WikiPost* {pre-2015 Archive}
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Old Nov 15, 19, 9:49 am
  #1621  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 4,899
Interesting scenario with the GPU. I doubt I would have thought of that.

However, I would guess that discussing 'passenger-friendly' glitches here primarily serves as an invitation to UA to fix them.

edit add afterthought: More broadly, though, I have noticed SDC logic seems to vacillate between more and less lenient with rules application, and I can't ever guess why. I've noticed that for different tickets with similar fare classes and routing complexity/simplicity, some months I get a lot of options, and some months I get very few or none. This is over the past couple of years.
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Old Nov 15, 19, 10:34 am
  #1622  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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TLV-SFO 00.55-06.00
SFO-LAS 15.32-17.11

Will I be able to SDC the first leg to TLV-EWR-SFO at 11.00 the day before?
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Old Nov 15, 19, 11:31 am
  #1623  
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Originally Posted by thedon View Post
Will I be able to SDC the first leg to TLV-EWR-SFO at 11.00 the day before?
You'll need an agent, and you'll probably need availability all the way through to LAS, but it should be within policy provided that you spend less than 24 hours in SFO with the revised schedule.
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Old Nov 15, 19, 1:50 pm
  #1624  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
They absolutely do publish P and Z fares. However, the fare basis doesn't start with P or Z. Let's stick with IAD-SFO as an example. For travel from December 9-13, I see the fare LAA2TQFN. This is a P fare. In this case, it is published as a first class fare, valid for nonstop travel only, and with a special rule disallowing travel between the p.s. city pairs. This is a fare-by-rule based upon a corresponding L fare (probably LAA2TQDN). It requires inventory in both the L and the P inventory buckets, but it credits like a P fare, you can SDC like a P fare, the entire amount paid is included if you make a change, etc. For all intents and purposes, it acts just like an international P fare (those do start with P).
I understand what you're saying. I've bought several of these fares in the past (not transcons that would use p.s. service because I try hard not to use EWR). But maybe we're splitting hairs...the underlying fare class is always the coach class because the fare basis starts with L (or K/Q, etc.). There are no published "P" or "Z" or "D" or "C" fare basis on domestic routes is my point.

And many times you can't SDC these as a true first class fare. So many reports (especially in this thread) and in my own experience where the app won't offer them and the 1K line insists the underlying coach fare class must also be available because as they say, "You have an L fare. L is not available. Therefore I cannot SDC you and the computer wants to charge you $xxx". If this were a true first class fare there would be no issues SDC'ing when P/Z/D/C is available.

-RM
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Old Nov 15, 19, 3:29 pm
  #1625  
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If a PP (O/A/R) fare clears into Polaris with a GPU, can you SDC to a different route if PZ>1 on a route that doesn't sell PP?
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Old Nov 15, 19, 3:55 pm
  #1626  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
We need more data points on SDC at connecting point and success of second SDC after changing the connecting point during the first SDC. I suspect that thejaredhuang is probably right on the denial of SDC at connecting point on either App or calling agent. UA has tighted a lot of rules such as removing GPU/RPU from reservation.
Just to add to my case, I flew HKG SFO LAX later on that itinerary and was given lots of direct SFO-LAX SDC options after boarding HKG, although this is not unexpected. There used to be many different routings available (SAN, SBA, even DEN, etc.) that have now shown on the app in over a year.
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Old Nov 16, 19, 7:53 am
  #1627  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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I currently have a K-class ticket on 016 stock for LAX-ZRH-CDG/CDG-MUC-LAX beginning early December. It's a codeshare both ways: Swiss on the outbound, LH on the return.

The outbound requires a change at the end and gets me into Paris at 6:05 pm. I'd prefer LAX-SFO-CDG to arrive mid-morning and avoid the change at the end of a long day's flying.

Two questions:

1) I understand that people have sometimes gotten SDCs on codeshares, but I'm unclear on whether they've been able to do this with the app. Should I bother trying, or should I just call in at T-24?

2) This thread tells me that K inventory is typically released at T–24 and again at T–3. I've been watching LAX-CDG options for the last few days, and I keep seeing K9 at those times on itineraries changing at eastern airports, but K has never opened on flights changing at SFO. Is SFO an exception to the trend, or does this just mean that the flights I've looked at have been exceptionally full? I've just taken a closer look at today's flights and noticed Y7, V6, and the like, so I think the "exceptionally full" hypothesis is a good one.

Bonus question: do I have a real chance of pulling this off?
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Old Nov 16, 19, 11:14 am
  #1628  
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
2) This thread tells me that K inventory is typically released at T–24 and again at T–3. I've been watching LAX-CDG options for the last few days, and I keep seeing K9 at those times on itineraries changing at eastern airports, but K has never opened on flights changing at SFO. Is SFO an exception to the trend, or does this just mean that the flights I've looked at have been exceptionally full? I've just taken a closer look at today's flights and noticed Y7, V6, and the like, so I think the "exceptionally full" hypothesis is a good one.
UA no longer routinely levels all booking classes — and, even when it did, it didn’t necessarily apply to connecting flights. You can not necessarily count on having K space available on any given flight.
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Old Nov 16, 19, 8:45 pm
  #1629  
 
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
I've been watching LAX-CDG options for the last few days, and I keep seeing K9 at those times on itineraries changing at eastern airports, but K has never opened on flights changing at SFO. Is SFO an exception to the trend, or does this just mean that the flights I've looked at have been exceptionally full?
Well, tonight breaks the trend I've been seeing until now. Last time I looked, my preferred LAX-SFO-CDG itinerary was K8 and the less-desirable LAX-ORD-CDF was K3.

So now my main question is: any bets on whether I'll be allowed to SDC my United codeshare flights booked on 016 stock?
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Old Nov 16, 19, 8:57 pm
  #1630  
 
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
Well, tonight breaks the trend I've been seeing until now. Last time I looked, my preferred LAX-SFO-CDG itinerary was K8 and the less-desirable LAX-ORD-CDF was K3.

So now my main question is: any bets on whether I'll be allowed to SDC my United codeshare flights booked on 016 stock?
My bet is no dice unless your original flight has Irrops.
Good luck.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 8:27 am
  #1631  
 
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Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
My bet is no dice unless your original flight has Irrops.
Good luck.
Thanks. I find United's SDC rule ambiguous. It says "The itinerary must be operated by United or United Express®…." This doesn't say which itinerary: the original, or the one I want to SDC to. I imagine those who have reported success changing from codeshares to United-operated flights have found agents who read it as the latter.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 10:13 am
  #1632  
 
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
Thanks. I find United's SDC rule ambiguous. It says "The itinerary must be operated by United or United Express®…." This doesn't say which itinerary: the original, or the one I want to SDC to. I imagine those who have reported success changing from codeshares to United-operated flights have found agents who read it as the latter.
It means both flights, the one you are currently booked on AND the one you want to change to. Changing on a code share is covered in the wiki.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 10:27 am
  #1633  
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Originally Posted by hokiebuy View Post
yup, even if it was a paid upgrade so your fare class is P or Z as an example, SDC only shows you original fare class.
Yes, I am aware, thanks the reason I mentioned it is that there has been a bug previously where PZ upgrades where able to SDC into other PZ space (hence the post from jsloan which I had quoted in my reply). Thus I was reporting that the bug seemed at least temporarily fixed.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 12:01 pm
  #1634  
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Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
Yes, I am aware, thanks the reason I mentioned it is that there has been a bug previously where PZ upgrades where able to SDC into other PZ space (hence the post from jsloan which I had quoted in my reply). Thus I was reporting that the bug seemed at least temporarily fixed.
That bug is back of this morning, but with a new twist: I had a flight AUS-IAH-SEA, where AUS-IAH was upgraded and IAH-SEA was not. I went to SDC, and it was back to "AUS-IAH in PZ / IAH-SEA in original fare class" mode, meaning I couldn't change connection points. When I selected an alternate flight, it gave me an error message and refused to confirm the change.

I was able to SDC by calling, and was properly put back into the original fare class.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 12:27 pm
  #1635  
 
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Originally Posted by Lynnie_Bee View Post
It means both flights, the one you are currently booked on AND the one you want to change to. Changing on a code share is covered in the wiki.
The wiki says "Change UA-codeshare, non-UA-metal segment to UA metal: A*", meaning there have been reports of success. I was hoping my question might evoke some recent experiences.

Last edited by ajGoes; Nov 18, 19 at 9:14 am
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